Chef, Church, Contractor, Coffee

This posting is for stuff on the backburner I’d been meaning to post. So, going in alphabetical order

Chef Jean Claude LeLan that is. About a week ago I took my 3rd or 4th class with him and they are always wonderful learning and eating experiences. His classes tend to be on Sunday mornings at 10 at his home in Mt. Vernon Sq., so even after having a rich meal and a good deal of wine, I can toddle or waddle back home for a good nap. The next class he’s having is the sauce class January 11th. I’ve taken it and it is well worth it because Chef Jean-Claude is a hoot, you get to take some sauces home and the after class meal is brunch. I also recommend that you take good notes and ask questions because the handouts are general and some steps are not mentioned or can be adjusted or are estimates or there are ideas that come out of the class.
Chef Jean Claude also offers catering and cooking classes in your home. I am tempted to have him cater, but a cooking class would not work. My kitchen is tiny.

Church of the Immaculate Conception at 8th and N NW is one of two Roman Catholic Churches in Shaw, the other is St. Augustine. The pastor of Immaculate Conception, Rev. Msgr. James Watkins resides in Shaw, so he is a part of the community. Mass is as follows- Saturday 5:30 (29 minutes or less or your next mass is free); Sunday 9AM (1 hour), 11AM (about 1.5 hours), 6PM (Latin. Fr. Watkins’ Latin is lovely, everybody else….eh). And don’t bother with the website, it is stuck in Dec 2006.

Not exactly in Shaw, but close, and they asked nice, and I needed another ‘C’…

I’m Ongisa and we just opened up CocoLibre at 786 Harvard St. NW. It’s a Fair Trade Cafe’ that specializes in certified tea, coffee, and chocolate- plus your typical coffee shop fare like paninis and pastries. I know we aren’t exactly in Shaw, but we’re close. If you could give us a shout-out or something, that would be great. Check us out on the web- Feel free to hype us up and stop in for some great organic (and ethical) tea! Thanks.

Some of y’all wanted my contractor’s contact info. Well my 2007 big renovation job and my 2002-2003 kitchen job were done by David of Something Different Contracting, 2/321-6416. I do recommend him for your big house projects (things that may require permits). David is very communicative, and lives close, in Frozen Tropic land (Old City 1). He has worked with older homes and will work with you to salvage any old beauty that may still exist in your home. You can email me at mari at inshaw daht com if you have questions you want to ask.

Buy a church for your new home

This place has been on the market for a while and I do wish I could find a non MRIS picture, but 1641 4th St NW is up for sale. According to a 1957 study of NorthWest 1 churches, it served as a house church. That’s sort of like a storefront church, but instead of a store, worshipers used a house. Up until last year or two years ago, a small sign reading “Faith Temple” was near the door of this house.
A few years ago, I swear there were more of these little house churches around the hood. I remember years ago walking around 1st and Bates and hearing a woman preaching, well saying words loudly in a rhythm similar to preaching. That’s gone now. There is a house church on the corner of 3rd and P. The building looks nice and seems to be well kept every time I pass by. I do have a pciture of that.
The Redfin ad for 1641 4th St, the former Faith Temple, says it has the original wood floors and looking at the pictures it looks like it has a lot of original stuff. I can see how the layout can serve a small number of people.
Now that I think of it, I have attended an Eastern Orthodox service in a converted rowhouse in Columbia Heights. While there I was paying more attention to the fact they had chairs, than the normal, non-churchy windows. Depending on the size of the congregation, a house can work for worship purposes and neighbors like it if worship does not require drums, electric bass and amps.

That ringing

I’ve figured out where the bells that ring the hours come from. I was walking near Immaculate Conception on 8th and N one evening and heard the bells there, sounding like they were coming from the church. All this while I was guessing it was coming from LeDroit or over by Howard.
Si (of MVSQ) mentioned that sound bounces around on the buildings, which could explain my confusion.


…or the one place within walking distance to take the Aunt whose liquor license her church hasn’t challenged….
Veranda on P has a decently priced brunch. I had seen the regular dinner menu and was concerned but the brunch featured a selection of omelettes, a burger, a veggie wrap, salads, and some sides. It was standard American fare, but good none the less. We both got big honking plates of food. I could hardly finish mine. It cost me, as I had volunteered to pick up the tab, a little over $30 for the two of us.
Then she dragged me to Handel’s Messiah.

Before there was the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area there was NW

Originally uploaded by In Shaw

This should be at the DC Archives over on Naylor Court, NW because this comes from the DC RLA. And the ‘this’ is a church survey for a previous urban renewal idea of doing a nice big chunk in NW. The best I can tell of what happened with the NW Urban Renewal Area is that it shrank to the NoMa area, and at some point the Shaw School Urban Renewal came to be. Seriously, I’m fuzzy when it comes to all the various urban renewal programs that RLA, with the federal government (NCPC), churned out. There were several, a downtown, possibly a NE, Adams-Morgan, the famous SW, this NW one and Shaw.
Anyway, the little numbered circles in the shown map here of the NW urban renewal area are of the various steeple and storefront churches in 1957. I’m not going to list them all as there are several pages and I don’t want to. But there are a few churches I want to highlight.
#3 Greater New Bethel; #4 Metropolitan; #10 Redeemer Italian Baptist; #13- Shiloh Baptist and #14 Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Storefront Church:
#17 Mt. Sinai Baptist
The survey is basic, with name and address of pastor, ethnic make up, staff, and a few things about the membership I found interesting.
Greater New Bethel, then at 1739 9th St, had a membership of 700, with an average attendance of 350, parking for 25 cars, and 80% of the working members held white collar jobs. None of the members lived in the NW urban renewal area but all lived in DC.
Metropolitan Baptist at 1225 R St had a membership of 3,260, average attendance at the worship service was 1500. Of the working membership 25% were white collar, 30% unskilled manual, 15% skilled and 10% in business. Geographically 40% lived in the urban renewal area, 57% in the rest of DC and 3% in VA. In 1957 it had no mortgage.
Redeemer Italian Baptist, or ‘ok I guess there was a strong eye-talian presence here’. It was at 1200 Kirby St and composed of white Italians. None of them lived in the urban renewal area, 40% were in the rest of DC and 60 % in MD & VA. The membership 125 with 60 showing up for worship services. A majority, 55% were skilled manual laborers, 30% white collar, and 10% in business.
Okay, I’m tired of typing, I’ll pick this up again later.

Well, that went well

Well today after getting my hair done, I went to the Shiloh Baptist Church Family Life Center’s Forum on Gentrification. It was a good step on the part of the Family Life Center to have something of a dialog, which despite nearly falling into chaos*, where different opinions voiced themselves. Hopefully, some Shiloh groups and community members can come together again to improve communication, find out what we can agree on, and work together on that.
I really did not take any decent notes. Except a notation about something Alex Padro, one of the panel members said about who gentrification really hurt were the people in boarding houses and people in single family townhomes. Shaw has the highest concentration of subsidized housing in Ward 2, with Lincoln Westmoreland, Foster House, Asbury Dwellings and some other places. And, if I remember right, the tenant groups have long covenants that keep the housing affordable to them. So whatever happens in the real estate market, their fine. However, found out that the United House of Prayer, which had/has a fair amount of affordable housing is going market/ luxury rate.
Also it was good to meet/see people I mainly know from the online experience, Ray and the man behind OnSeventh. The great thing about neighborhood blogging is at some point you are going to run into people off-line. Oh, and I stand behind what I said about libel. If there is anything that I have typed that is untrue (outside of an opinion) bring it to my attention, and if it is false, I will retract it or adjust it, basically try to make it right. I am not hiding behind a blog, believe me, you can find me if you put some effort in it, like emailing me, or wandering over to a BACA meeting. At some community gatherings, some people (Scott Roberts) are more than happy to point me out.
After the forum I did talk to some folks who were members and volunteers for Shiloh. There are a few ideas that I hope some who can act on these ideas can work with. One is getting new Baptists in the area to join. Second is doing a better job of advertising different missions that can help people in need in the immediate area take care of immediate needs, like a food pantry and a benevolence fund, and if a person needs to tap into it right this minute, how they would get connected. Third, have a church presence on one of the civic association committees, like Ebeneezer Baptist is with BACA.
I’ve been typing this up between dinner and had a nice long conversation with a fellow with a Shiloh justice ministry spin-off, the Urban Housing Alliance, who was at the forum. Long and short of it, because I really want to get back to dinner, what’s going on with Shiloh and the properties and the official justice ministry to address issues is complicated. This is the part where I don’t want to be bothered with the infighting because I have to side with my family members who are Shiloh members and supportive of current leadership. But the fellow made a good point of some failings with current leadership and some of the problems we are seeing.
Anyway, due to issues related to the infighting & parking, the Urban Housing Alliance will be meeting at a friendly location for them, 4311 R St, Capitol Heights, MD October 20th from 10:30AM to noon. ‘Cause I asked, why out in Maryland? It seems they also meet in DC as well and their goal is to provide services, free of charge, to DC citizens (I gather from the discussion) to cut property taxes, lower rents, and hold on to homes.
Okay, din-din.
UPDATE: Off Seventh has more here and here.

*I say the same thing about my church’s screamy baby service with kids squirming and not providing the expected answers when the priest does the kiddie focused sermon.

BACA meeting 9/10

I’ll get my skimpy notes up later on the super secret site later. Yet there are two things I want to address.
Just for the love of G-d say no to chain emails.
The email the woman mentioned prior to the official start of the meeting, I believe is a hoax. But this one has the anti-illegal immigrant flava crystals. Warning emails like this are half the time false, clog up inboxes, and only serve to unsettle the receiver’s nerves. Not like we don’t have enough crime in our own little section of the world to worry about much less some story in another time zone.

Churches need to better publicize their local mission work.

Attending the BACA meeting was the pastor of Mt. Sinai. Mt. Sinai Baptist Church has been hosting the BACA and back when the PSA meetings since as long as I can remember. And the pastor asked the tiny assembly what the church could do to help the community (in addition to keep allowing BACA to meet). A fair amount of discussion was on social services and there was some back and forth with the Ward 5 representatives from the mayor and Mr. Thomas’ office, regarding a person the govt people are trying to find help for.
In that discussion I found out about some of the services that some of us could refer folks to in dire need.
Shelter– The church has a men’s shelter in the neighborhood with a handful of beds and it is staffed by a church volunteer. They used to have a women’s shelter but that apparently had too many complex issues (children, family, spouses, etc) and they just did not have the volunteers.
Clothes closet– You’ve seen it though the window. Free clothes to anyone who asks. There are no regular hours, but if you go to the educational center on R and 3rd or call the church office at 202 667-1833 or get a staff person at the church building who can call the person with the keys and let the person who needs it come in and pick out what they need.
Food pantry– Like the clothes closet.
Benevolence Committee There are funds to help with utility bills of persons in need. There are some questions the applicant needs to answer. Also one does not need to be a member of Mt. Sinai to request the help of the Benevolence Committee, but if the person is a member of another church community, Mt. Sinai would ask that the other church be asked first. It seems that Ebeneezer Baptist on the unit block of Q, also has a similar Benevolence fund.
I want to state that I know most of you reading this blog won’t probably ever need to use the church’s services, but from time to time bump into other residents who do need emergency food, clothing or a little help with the light bill.
There are plenty of churches…. plenty…and a mosque, around here that I know offer a hodgepodge of social services that can be tapped by those of our neighbors’ in need, it just that we don’t know or are not sure how they operate. There are also the odd program sponsored or hosted by churches that people of various income levels, such as AA meetings, Girl Scouts (yummmm cookies) and Boy Scouts.
Since I’m on hodgepodge, I believe the church on the 1200 blk of New Jersey Avenue on the Ward 2 side, offers a free breakfast. Or at least did offer a free weekday prayer (okay not completely free if prayer is costly) breakfast. And the 4th St 7th Day Advents on the 1600 blk of 4th has an early morning breakfast (with sermon) for the homeless/hungry on Sunday to feed a handful of people. The Korean Protestants at 4th and R offer free legal help.

Dirty Laundry & Church

Normally I’d leave the subject to other bloggers closer to the area, but I think I have a little to add.
The District section of the Washington Post has two articles regarding Shiloh, I’m glad to see the second about Rev. Wallace Charles Smith. The reason being is that I hope that those outside the church understand at least one of the factors that make it difficult for Shiloh to move forward, because it is not of one mind.
As mentioned to me by a relative who has been a long time member of Shiloh the divisions have gotten to an upsetting point. There was a meeting with an architect with plans for ther properties where she claims the deacons were acting up and telling outright lies about Rev. Smith. And there is some little side group having meetings, attempting to oust Rev. Smith. She defends him as a good pastor and pointed out the problem properties were problems way before Rev. Smith got there. And really, the church fire back in the 90s did not help.
In other conversations I know that tithing seemed to be a problem before all the negative press. People not tithing properly is not a problem unique to Shiloh. And it is those tithes as well as a building fund campaign that will get those properties up to snuff and maybe get a senior center. When the church does finally come together, deals with their infighting, and makes the senior center/senior housing a priority mission, it will be good for the church and the neighborhood.


Honestly I am trying to find a decent Episcopal church in DC, but I’m aiming for Shaw. In this search I have been to St. Paul’s in Foggy Bottom, St. George’s on U Street, and recently St. Agnes (?) on 12th and Mass. St. Pauls- love the people there, love the incense, not too keen on the mass. Too high church and not even Rite I (I’m totally Rite II). St. George’s is near by and African American. It is Rite II and seems traditional. Yet, I am so, so sad to say, I was bored to tears in mass. That pains me, ’cause it would be so cool to just walk to church and be amongst my people and be ‘home’.

The past 2 sundays I’ve been to St. Agnes. The first time, high mass. Okay, I can pretty much say that besides the incense, I hate high mass. This week I did their low mass. I gather because of the march downtown there was a very low turnout. For the whole mass there were 5 of us, counting the priest, and worse, it was like high mass but without the music. Arrgh! There were a few good points, I got more sherry, it was over with quickly, and it was at 12:30.

At this rate I’m almost headed towards the Luthuran church.

Next month I’ll try Georgetown churches.